NBA Offseason: The Curious Case of Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons

Blake Griffin #23 of the Detroit Pistons reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on December 09, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Blake Griffin #23 of the Detroit Pistons reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on December 09, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Looking at who will win the NBA title in 2021, the landscape appears about as wide open as it has been in a  while. For contenders looking to complete their roster puzzle and get a ring, could Blake Griffin be their missing piece?

It’s hard to feel bad for a guy who makes nearly $35 million a year, however, it’s tough not to want more for Blake Griffin. The veteran 6-foot-9 forward could be called the lone “star” that the Detroit Pistons’ fans have craved so much since the franchise’s downward spiral began in 2008.

Back in 2018-19, his first season with Detroit, Griffin proved he was worth the talent bundle the team gave up for his services when he was acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers. Griffin averaged a career-high 24.5 points to go along with 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists to lead the Pistons to the last playoff berth they have had.

A player of his stature, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see Griffin demand a trade the way we have seen other superstars facilitate their own departures.

The Pistons are finally moving into a rebuilding era and Griffin simply does not need to be taken along for the ride. It won’t help that he has a max contract with two more years to go. His injury struggle last year and lack of athleticism he appeared to play with, along with the big contract, would  makes Griffin hard to move.

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Maybe not.

Recent news around the league suggests there may be a market for Griffin after all. While his contract and athletic flaws are noted, his skill set and leadership qualities indicates he might be the missing piece on a championship contender.

The elephant in the room is, of course, the Golden State Warriors, who hold the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft. Coming off a historic run of five straight finals appearances, the Warriors crashed back down to earth in 2020 with injuries to their top three players, leaving them with the league’s worst regular season record.

Going into 2020-2021, the Warriors will be back at full health and ready to compete for a ring once again, but the West will be no cake walk.

Aside from both LA teams loading up on star talent, young teams like the Nuggets, Jazz and Mavericks are famished for a seat at the big boy’s table. Golden State can’t just assume they will easily return to the finals, especially losing a generational talent like Kevin Durant.

If they want to truly compete for a fourth title in seven seasons, they will need another star. Enter Blake Griffin.

It wouldn’t be ridiculous for the Warriors to keep their pick and select from the talent pool of what many are calling a weak draft at the top. Yet, it seems to be everyone’s gut feeling that they’ll look to trade the pick for a proven player who will help them win immediately.

They have the assets to make a deal work, it’s just the problem of having the contracts match. The deal would have to center around a swap for Griffin and the No. 2 pick, so Andrew Wiggins’ $29 million contract seems like a logical plugin.

That is one possible outcome, but look out for MANY trade machine graphics in the coming weeks.

Other teams that would make sense for Griffin include Boston, Houston, Miami and Philadelphia. All of those clubs fell short of their goals last year but are looking to make another run. Griffin could provide exactly what they’re looking for.